The California drought is in its fourth year. While some Californians have had to be forced to ration water because they don’t think the water restrictions apply to them, most of the state's affected residents are finding creative ways to limit their water usage, including in the kitchen.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Sunset magazine’s Margo True said people are finding ways of cooking with less water including steaming instead of boiling and cooking with fewer pots and pans. One way of doing that is by preparing an entire meal on a sheet pan.

“It’s marginal,” she said, “but it makes people feel better.”

Many recipes say to coat a sheet pan with oil or cooking spray. Sheet pans can also be lined with parchment paper, which will prevent food from sticking and make clean up easy. Little water is needed to wipe down or wash a lined sheet pan.

potatoes and rosemary on a baking sheetSo many tasty meals can be prepared in one simple sheet pan with easy cleanup. (Photo: Lilyana Vynogradova/Shutterstock)

Since it’s a good idea for all of us to conserve water, I’ve collected seven recipes that create an entire meal on a sheet pan. Now we can all do our part (and have easy cleanup after dinner).

  1. Potato-Kale Hash with Eggs: Hash is one of my favorite quick dinners, and I usually start it on the stove and finish it in the oven. This recipe does the entire meal on one sheet pan, cooking seasoned potatoes, kale and onion first and then adding cheese and eggs at the end of the cooking time to create dinner for four.
  2. Roast Salmon and Broccoli with Chile-Caper Vinaigrette: Dinner is ready in 45 minutes with this sheet pan recipe. The broccoli starts out in the oven first and then is pushed aside on the pan for the addition of the salmon. One other small bowl is used to prepare the vinaigrette.
  3. Roasted Spring Vegetables and Greens with Goat Cheese Toasts: They had me at goat cheese. I am absolutely salivating just reading this recipe. Fresh vegetables are roasted and then hearty bread is sliced, topped with goat cheese, and roasted right on top of the vegetables toward the end of the cooking time.
  4. Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Chicken Tenders and Green Beans with Grape Tomatoes: If you’re looking for one sheet pan recipe that works for both adults and kids, this is it. The breaded chicken is cooked on one side of the pan; the vegetables are cooked on the other.
  5. One Pot Chicken and Potatoes: This should be called One Sheet Chicken and Potatoes because it’s cooked on a sheet pan and not in a pot. Chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots and onions are roasted in olive oil and spices on one pan. One commenter suggested adding frozen peas on top for the last 20 minutes, and that sounds like a great way to round out the vegetables for this dinner.
  6. Sheet Pan Fajitas: All the hot fillings for fajitas are roasted in one pan — chicken, colorful peppers and onion. This could just as easily be done with beef.
  7. Summer Vegetable Napoleon: Technically this is done in a loaf pan, not a sheet pan, but if the goal here is to use just one pan in the oven for easy clean up, this recipe works. Summer squashes, peppers and eggplant are arranged in this ratatouille-ish meal. Add a loaf of nice crusty bread with some good butter, and you have a simple summer meal perfect for Meatless Monday or any night.

I'm ready to break out the olive oil and start sheet pan cooking. How about you?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.